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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More transpromo...

So yesterday we discussed the skill sets needed to conduct an effective transpromo marketing production effort.  By production I mean we are not attempting to decide who gets a particular message, we are not creating the specific artwork associated with that message, nor are we handling details beyond saying here is artwork A and it goes to customers with profile A', artwork B and it goes to customers with profile B', and so on.

Here are the skills again:
  1. Graphic arts (design).
  2. Programmer/IT infrastructure.
  3. Database.
  4. USPS
  5. AFP/PDF document handling.
  6. Real security.
Let's examine what each needs to do.

For #1 we typically need basic graphic arts and mail-piece design skills - more than likely there will be a base template, say a letter, onto which some messages (A, B, etc. from above) will be placed.  Typical mail stream documents are not all the same some the various sub-templates within the stream will each have to have a design decision made about where to place the message, what size to make the message, etc.  The messages will have to obey various USPS rules such as keeping the message "outside the window" on the envelope in order to meet USPS requirements.

For #2 we will need to have the necessary database information available, the authoring application up and running, we need to load the client database and artwork into the authoring application, etc. We will need a large amount of disk space for the output, etc.

For #3 we will need to understand the structure of the client database, how it relates to the piece and the advertisements (A, B, etc.), what setup will be required (does it need capitalization, mail presort, cleaning of any type, etc.), and so forth.  This may be very simple or very complex depending on the client and application.  In my experience client IT people pull data (names, etc.) along with criteria (say income, location, etc.) and the print provider must combine the two to drive the piece.

For #4 we need to ensure that the piece we produce conforms.  There are three major issues - does the piece conform to the type of mailing, does the piece physically match (no extra nonsense in the window), and are we adding information, such as an account number, that might cause the USPS to reject it (typically trying to mail a piece containing account numbers as "standard").

For #5 we need to be sure that the data we deliver to the printer is organized for production, i.e., batched in the right order.  Depending on what we receive from the client this may be easy or hard.  In some cases we must disassemble what we receive, reprocess it for the specific application, and reassemble things for production.  This also may involve impositions and other processing.

For #6 - we need to make sure that the information conforms to the clients needs, e.g., HIPPA for health care, etc.  This may be part of IT infrastructure or not.  There also may be mailing security issues, i.e., we must be sure we mailed all the pieces.

Individually there is nothing interesting here.  But hiring a single person to do all of this may be a challenge.

(I just did a search for "transpromo" on and got one hit for the entire USA.)

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